Planet Iron Blogger SF

January 09, 2023

Claire Kao

2022 Movie and Book Round-up

Favorite movie of the year 

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed: A movie that unexpectedly cut to the core of why we make and need art. Yes, it’s also very importantly about the Sackler Family, Nan Goldin, and the opioid crisis; but the explicitly stated topics are woven together to illustrate the power when an artist such as Nan Goldin metabolizes pain into art. I’m inarticulate because it knocked the wind out of me: go see it. 

Honorable Mentions

Crimes of the Future: a complex, incoherent thing that masterfully unfolds its secrets along with commentaries on sexual desire, pain v. pleasure, machine v. human, corporate v. collective, what to do about our over-plasticked future.  
Nope: a cinematic essay on spectacle and image-making, but meta, because this movie was an iconic image-making spectacle. Layers and layers, with a digestible narrative overhead ;)

Favorite movie that I saw overall

The Runner (1984): elemental, pure, simple energy. This is what I’m talking about when I say I love movies. The trailer linked is very faithful to the energy and aesthetic of the film. 

Didn’t see but would like to at some point

From left to right: Both Sides of the Blade, Saint Omer (playing at Film Forum this month), We're All Going to the World's Fair

2022 Books

Favorite read: Liarmouth; it was so f***ing funny



Already starting the year with a bang—went to see Come and See today as part of a film series programmed by Jordan Peele to “serve as a guide to understanding NOPE’s thematic interests”. Our screening was advertised with a brief statement: “Preceded by a secret short selection from Jordan Peele.” I had no idea what to expect, and assumed it would be obscure. When it came time for the screening, it was announced with a mysterious statement that they still could not tell us what short film we’d be seeing per their contractual obligations, until the short was playing. The room went dark, and lo and behold:
A very special sight to see on the big screen. Still haven’t totally connected why Jordan Peele paired this with Come and See, but I’m thinkin about it 

by Claire ( at January 09, 2023 03:49 AM

Certainly Strange

Star Trek Online 1920s Cosmic Horror AU

I am now obsessed with the STO Cosmic Horror AU because it just fits too well. Hakeev already was literally a cosmic horror villain. He fanatically worshiped ancient alien gods that he did not understand, and sacrificed his own people in his efforts to summon them so they could establish a new order. The only … Continue reading "Star Trek Online 1920s Cosmic Horror AU"

by Steen at January 09, 2023 03:14 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Happy New Year from Inspiration Point!

January 09, 2023 02:10 AM

January 08, 2023

Vivek Sri


I have joined the Substack bandwagon and started a newsletter.

If you love me (or even if you mildly dislike me), consider subscribing. It’s once per week, it’s short, and it might even save your life.

by Microprinciples at January 08, 2023 08:00 AM

January 07, 2023

Doctor Popular

#SidewalkFriends: Stoner frog

I like to keep my eye out for cool shapes during my walks and use them as inspiration for my #SidewalkFriends drawings. It’s like my version of hunting for Pokémon.

Some dried motor-oil near the curb was used as inspiration for this Stoner Frog drawing.

A photo of a street curb with a circular stain nearby. A drawing of a humanoid figure with green skin and froglike features. He has long black hair, an orange t-shirt, and a denim short-sleeve jacket with patches and spikes. Like an early 80s punk rocker. He's smoking a joint. There's puffs of smoke and a nearby butterfly drawn over his head. 
The background of this image is a photo of a sidewalk.

The post <span class='p-name'>#SidewalkFriends: Stoner frog</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at January 07, 2023 05:52 PM

January 06, 2023

Fuzhou Food

Steamed Eggs, 蒸蛋

Growing up, this dish made regular appearances on the dinner table. Simple and fast to make, yet surprisingly delicious and goes really well with rice. Thanks to Anita for the post!


  • 5 large eggs

  • 1.5 cups of water

  • fish sauce

    • I use 3 crabs for fresh fish flavor & Squid brand for mature salty flavor

  • salt 

  • scallions (sliced)

  • chicken broth (Lee Kum Kee)


Start by boiling water in a steamer. I use my wok, with a hot dog rack on the bottom to support a 9" round pan.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add 1.5 cups of hot chicken broth. You can also use water in a pinch. Add a splash of fish sauce. Add salt, but be careful not to over-salt it. Pour the egg mixture into the pan you plan to steam in.

Place the pan into the steamer.

Top with chopped scallions and steam 15+ minutes.

The pork topping is optional, but if you plan to add it, just place it on top of the egg about 1/2 way through the steaming process. See below for recipe.

Pork topping

(also makes great to stuff shrimp, eggplant, tofu or dumplings with)


  • ground pork

  • napa cabbage

  • scallions

  • soy sauce

  • oyster sauce (the premium Lee Kum Kee is worth every cent)

  • salt and pepper


Dice the napa cabbage and scallions 

In bowl, add the pork and veggies. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.

In a pan or wok, heat some cooking oil. Stir fry the pork mixture until completely cooked through.

Now combine!  This is also the perfect stuffing for dumplings, stuffed vegetables or stuffed shrimp

 Enjoy!   - Anita

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at January 06, 2023 05:56 PM

January 04, 2023


Culture is what is rewarded

Culture is what is rewarded

Don't be fooled by posters or PowerPoint presentations. Your company culture isn't a handful of buzzy phrases dreamed up by HR. Culture is what is rewarded and celebrated by members of a group.

From our company Slack:

Major shoutout to {redacted} for product guidance all along and helping in coordination with cross-functional teams.

Shoutout to {redacted} for quickly ramping up and creating a test plan for the project, which came to us super last minute!

A huge shoutout to {redacted} for being on top of our progress even during her PTO and being in a different time-zone.

Forget the blog posts on camraderie, diversity, mutual respect, blah, blah, blah. Those are aspirations. True culture is informed by whatever specific behaviors are validated by leaders and peers. The highlights above point to a culture that values collaboration, speed, and sacrifice. (I'm not here to judge these specific principles, though I will if asked nicely.)

The point is this: to understand culture you must understand behavior. To evolve culture you must shift incentives, not just language.

And, as a bonus, when incentives are founded on meaningful values, that makes culture its own reward.

by V Sri at January 04, 2023 07:37 PM

January 03, 2023

Randy Lubin

2022 Recap

2022 was a huge year for us – all three of us! Here’s what we’ve been up to:



Curio Rav Lubin was born in March – he’s almost ten months old now – and we’ve loved growing with him over the past year. He’s incredibly happy most of the time and quick to smile and giggle. His face is deeply expressive, especially his eyebrows, and we love seeing a small window into his mind. In the last few weeks he’s gotten very quick at crawling and climbing (on us, on furniture, on toys). It’s wild to see friends’ kids who are only a year older and think about how much more will change in the very near future.

Parenting has been a blast – especially since I get to do it with Avital. We’re having nonstop fun and it just keeps getting better. One surprise for me, shortly after Curio was born, was that I kept bursting into improvised song about his day. I’m not particularly into musicals but making up songs was a way to connect with Curio and to embrace the omnipresent repetition of those early months. It turns out that I’m not alone in this and our friend Kathryn Hymes ended up writing an article for the Atlantic on the topic (featuring me and Curio!): What Babies Hear When You Sing to Them.

We’ve had tons of great family time beyond Curio too, with my parents flying in once a month and Avital’s parents visiting at least once a week. It’s super fun to see them spending time with their grandchild!

We aren’t posting much about Curio on social media but you can follow our newsletter, The Lubin Letters, for updates.


Leveraged Play

I had a very busy year on the serious game front, mostly focused on “foresight games” that explore the future.

Startup Trail

startup trail logo

In April, we (Leveraged Play, Copia Institute, Engine) launched Startup Trail (blog) a browser based game that explores the intersection of startups and tech policy. Players face a series of dilemmas as they grow their company from founding to exit (or bankruptcy). The game was warmly received, with 10,000s of folks playing the game; we also got covered in The Verge. I’m thrilled with how the game turned out and we’ll be making more browser-based games in 2023.

United Nations Election Game

I’ve also spent most of the year working with the United Nations (in collaboration with Mike Masnick) on a foresight game to explore threats and opportunities around elections. We ran pilot sessions in Southeast Asia in late spring and then created a generalized guide for how to adapt the game for other national contexts – the guide should launch early this year and I’ll post about it when it’s live. Working with the United Nations was a great opportunity – it’s important that my games are impactful (not just fun) and the UN is a strong vector for affecting positive change.

Minigames, Talks, Workshops, and More

While I’ve worked on a few other bigger games over the course of the year, I can’t talk about them publicly yet. I can share two smaller games though: Coastalia Refugee Crisis and Hindsight 2030.

a slide from Costalia Refugee Crisis showing the region

I created Coastalia Refugee Crisis for a VZOR and SOIF’s series on Peaceful Futures. Players explored how institutions might respond to a fraught situation that threatens to descend into violent conflict. The short crisis game format has potential and I look forward to making more designs like it in 2023.

Hindsight 2030 logo

I also collaborated with The Copia Institute to launch a remixable version of Hindsight 2030, our lightweight game that explore the future through a timeline of headlines (earlier post). I love the idea of easily remixable foresight games and hope to release a few more this year.

Talks and more

I gave a handful of talks and workshops throughout 2022 (e.g. for California 100 and SOIF) and I’ve enjoyed honing my “Why Foresight Games?” pitch and seeing what resonates with different audiences. I was also interviewed on the Amble Podcast where we had a lovely conversation about applications for foresight games.

Launching the Foresight Games Community

In June I officially launched the Foresight Games Community with a Discord and mailing list (already up to ~150 people each). I’d been seeing different folks bridging foresight and games work around the world but there wasn’t a central place for sharing and discussing the (still emerging) field. Since the launch we’ve held 7 meetups where we’ve given lightning talks or played games. We’ll keep having monthly events this year – if you’re making games about the future or just curious, sign-up and join us!

Avital Tours / Edible Architecture

A Charcuterie Chalet from Edible Architecture

Avital created a new brand this fall, Edible Architecture, which sells the first commercially available Charcuterie Chalet Kit. I’ve enjoyed watching her prototype and launch this new business line and seeing her go from concept to reality in just a few, quick months – her kits have even gone viral on social media!

Consumer Games and Story Synth

Working the Case

the mystery board from working the case

Much of my game designer energy was focused on foresight games but I still found time to design and playtest consumer games. Most of time here was spent on Working the Case – my 30-minute mystery game where you collectively create and solve a murder. I playtested the game 20 times, with several different playsets (e.g. space station, fantasy) and I am very happy with how it’s shaping up. This year I’ll look to publish it in digital form (new Story Synth format?) or as a physical card version.

The always incredible Jeff Stormer had me on his podcast Party of One where we played the game and told a twisted tale of murder on Vacation Station – give it a listen!

Behind the Magic released in Germany

behind the magic cover, german edition

The folks at System Matters translated Behind the Magic, my fantasy mockumentary game, into German (my first international game translation) and I love their new illustrations. You can send your German-speaking gamer friends to their online store and it’s also being sold in German game shops.

Story Synth: Microgrants and Hexmaps

collage of story synth games

2022 was a huge year for Story Synth, my free web platform for storytelling games. Based on my rough analytics, more than 10,000 folks came to the site and over 100 new games were created.

I teamed up with Big Bad Con to run a microgrant program, with financial support from the wonderful folks at Grant for the Web. We distributed $30,000 as 100 microgrants of $300 to designers of marginalized identities, many of whom were first time designers. I love helping this cohort make games and they inspired me to add many extra features to the Story Synth platform. You can check out some of their games in the Microgrant Gallery.

Early in the year, I launched a visual refresh for Story Synth, with significant help from Raph D’Amico and I think the new design is working well. Check it out yourself at

Finally, on December 31st, I launched the new Hexmap Format (also with Raph’s advice – thanks Raph!) which makes it easy for designers to create maps of various sizes with plenty of room for customization. I’m excited to see what folks build with it!

Speaking of Raph, I also wrote a “twist” expansion called “The Glitch” for Raph’s game The Zone (Kickstarter), which will be released later this year.

Gaming Like It’s 1926/7

Last year was the fourth year of our annual public domain game jam. Check out the winners on the 1926 page or join us this month for the 1927 jam. I really love this annual tradition.



I’ve been expanding my musical dabbling on two fronts. I’ve been playing a lot of ukulele for Curio and have been leaving the instrument upstairs where I can easily pick it up for a minute and strum – I highly recommend it for anyone who is curious. I’ve also been learning piano and just upgraded from my small 2-octave midi controller to a 61 key keyboard. I’m looking forward to learning basic jazz improvisation and am enjoying it a lot so far!


I spent a bit of time outlining short stories but didn’t make much progress on actually writing. I’m hoping to change that this year and get a few stories out in the same shared setting. I’ll share more info soon and hope to do a bit more working in public on this front.

Also - my story Joan Henry vs the Algorithm was translated into Italian (my first fiction writing translation) and it’s included in the Internetwork anthology as Joan Henry Contro l’Algoritmo.

2023 and Catch-up!

We just finished our first round of planning for 2023 and it’s going to be an excited and jam packed year.

Also - we haven’t been great about proactively scheduling calls but we always get excited when old friends reach out to chat. Shoot us an email and we’ll get something on the calendar!

January 03, 2023 04:13 AM

January 02, 2023

Randy Lubin

Gaming Like It’s 1927

It’s a new year and that means a new round of works entering the public domain!

For the fifth year in a row, Mike Masnick, Leigh Beadon and I are teaming up to host a game jam to celebrate this new content. Come join us at: Gaming Like It’s 1927.

Works from 1927 entering the public domain include:

Written work by: Agatha Christie, Baroness Orczy, Hermann Hesse, Marcel Proust, Upton Sinclair, and Virginia Woolf

Art by: Ansel Adams, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, and Tamara de Lempicka

Films including The Jazz Singer, Metropolis, Napoléon, and Trolley Troubles

Music by Béla Bartók, Ira and George Gershwin, Igor Stravinsky, Irving Berlin, Louis Armstrong, Ruth Etting, and Sophie Tucker

January 02, 2023 09:44 PM

Doctor Popular

Heavy rains in SF lead to flooding at Silver Sprocket

Yesterday was not only New Year’s Eve, it was also the second wettest day in San Francisco’s history. Due to the heavy rain, there was a lot of flooding, including at Silver Sprocket Comics, where the basement got soaked with water, which stinks because that’s where they keep their inventory.

They put out an open call for folks to come and help move inventory from the basement to the main room, and a couple dozen folks showed up to help. I even spotted Leef, the owner of Mission Comics, which is a few blocks down the street, lending a hand. I was only there for a few hours, but in that time we managed to get about 3/4 of the inventory moved up to a nice, dry location on the main floor. which is good because more rain is on the way soon. Silver Sprocket is a great shop run by great people and now is as good a time as any to pick up some comics from their shop in SF or

A short video I recorded at Silver Sprocket on January 1st, 2023
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by doc at January 02, 2023 06:35 PM

Claire Kao


Howdy, 2023

Whenever I've tried thinking about new year’s resolutions in the past, they've always felt like self-coercion, like there's a secret “better” version of myself beckoning from across the threshold of a new year. But, across that threshold, I always discover it's still me and I am me and there's not some magical version of me waiting to be embodied.

I’ve also discovered that every single tendency I have has developed for a reason; I'm generally not fighting off some magical demon that has appeared out of nowhere, but that a lot of my tendencies, even if I don't want to continue them, have developed out of self-protection or preservation. Willing myself to get rid of them doesn’t really work.    

On that point, I'm also also learning that I don't really believe in doing things via sheer force of will, which is a way I used to do things back when I was (ง’̀-‘́)ง fighting for my life (ง’̀-‘́)ง. Like how I’ve been learning to do with dear lil pup Ziggy, positive reinforcement is the way. 

So, instead of: Here are 10 things I Aspire to Do Differently in the New Year

What about: 

Here are 10 habits/routines I've picked up that Feel Good and Useful to Continue into Next Year (and a further reminder as to Why)

  1. cooking (Restaurants never put enough of my fave veggie. I can use as much bok choy as I want, I'm never wanting for bok when I cook for myself) bok choy.jpg  
  2. reading before bed (reality TV on my phone before bed feels bad the next morning. I’ve been getting to sleep better with a book.) IMG_8021.jpg
  3.  morning stretches (Ballet Blast by Sassy: it feels so good to get the full range of motion first thing out of bed) stretch.JPG  
  4. water routines (honey+lemon+warm water in the morning is soothing and comforting, CHIA WATER at night is pure heaven) chia.jpg  
  5. resetting my space and viewing it as a gift to future claire (from How to Keep House While Drowning: can attest that waking up to a reset space feels energizing) how to keep house while drowning.jpg  
  6. getting places early, adding in more buffer time for travel (Rushing is terrible, it feels bad. Being early means more time to pee!) IMG_8013.jpg
  7. ear plugs at night (ever since I started using slim fit ear plugs for small ear canals, I’ve slept the entire night through. I generally don’t, otherwise.) IMG_8020.jpg
  8. Flossing (when I was a good brusher but a bad flosser, my canker sore breakouts were frequent and unmanageably painful. Since I started flossing religiously, it seems to have actually helped prevent/diminish breakouts.) IMG_8194.jpg
  9. 8 hugs a day (IDK where I saw this suggestion, but it’s an obvious one and it feels good) hug.jpg  
  10. apologizing (repairing meaningful relationships feels good, not letting pettiness or misunderstanding or projection fracture relationships feels good) apology.png


Last photo dump of 2022

boxy boyish black vs. sexy silky siren

“It’s so extreme that these women aren't sex objects, they're sex subjects” ——Linda Nochlin on Thierry Mugler 

Jimmy De Sana 
My favorite frilliest puss from The Dinner Party 

“So I kept on moving along until I got to be an old woman. Now I got to get back to my childhood, what you call playing in a playhouse. My little old house is just a playhouse, just something to sleep in like it was when I was a child. I love to have a playhouse.” —— Nellie Mae Rowe 
My favorite (oxalis) with my favorite (xtine)


Maker Hotel Gardener Candle 

Alcohols for someone that doesn’t like alcohol


I 🖤 NY

Made with Snapchat lol 

Water earth fire air. (My very unhappy Fiddle Leaf Fig has suddenly started growing its first new leaves in over a year. What a great omen to wake up to on January 1.)
Happy days! Each + every one 


by Claire ( at January 02, 2023 04:26 AM

January 01, 2023


Coming soon

For years I collected small ideas on post-it notes and slapped them on the wall that faces my workstation. These are ideas that help me think differently, unstick my thinking, or remind me of another perspective I might have forgotten.

One day I shared a photograph of these notes with my coworkers, who politely demanded I explain what the heck they all mean. So I am doing that.

Legibility will be addressed via this newsletter also

Microprinciples is a weekly newsletter. These principles are harvested from my lived experience as a mid-career millennial knowledge worker and as a thinking, breathing, loving human being.

Subscribe now

by V Sri at January 01, 2023 11:03 AM

Doctor Popular

2022: ArtVsArtist

Listen to an audio version of this article

One of my favorite projects of 2022 was working on my series. Most of those went up on Twitter, but I’m not using Twitter anymore, so I’m slowly uploading them to Mastodon, IG, and here.

I saw the tag going around on social media, so I decided to round up some of my favorite Sidewalk Friends in a collage. Check out the Instagram post to see the collage and timelapse videos of each piece being drawn.

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View this post on Instagram
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by doc at January 01, 2023 03:23 AM

The Flatjack Incident (2022 version)

I dug up one of my old comics and tried adding color to it. I think it turned out swell! “The Flatjack Incident” was drawn and printed in 2009 in pen, but the digital colors were added in Procreate yesterday. This is based on a true story that took place during the first day of the Mediocre Tour, a nerdcore rap tour I did with Beefy and MC Router.

The cover of the Flatjack Incident comic. It shows a closeup of a stack of brown pancakes, covered in butter and syrup, on a table. Behind them is an excited person with their mouth open and smiling, like they are excited to see pancakes. Page 1 of the Flatjack Incident comic. The first panel shows someone lifting a flaming car in order to save a baby. The text says Page 2 of the Flatjack Incident comic book.

In the first panel, the server comes back to booth and tells me Page 3 of the Flatjack Incident comic (the final page). 

In the first panel I hunch forward and slam my face into the plate of syruped pancakes with a giant
The pages getting colored. Music by Doctor Popular.

The post <span class='p-name'>The Flatjack Incident (2022 version)</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at January 01, 2023 03:05 AM

December 31, 2022

Diegetic Games

Story Synth: Hexmap Format

an interpretation of the map from the Hobbit in Hexmap

I’m thrilled to share a new Story Synth format: Hexmap. In this format, you can create and share maps made of hexes and players can move around on those maps.

Hexes contain custom icons or images that show up on the main map, which is scrollable and zoomable. Hexes can also contain extra information that is available under different circumstances: players are at that hex; players are looking at that hex without traveling there; someone is looking at that hex in facilitator mode.

A screenshot of the hexmap interface with fog of war

Maps can be visible to all or have a “fog of war” where some of the map starts hidden until players move closer. In facilitator mode, you can swap the hexes in realtime and change their visibility.

As with all Story Synth formats, it’s entirely powered from a Google Sheet. However, this format is only available on larger screens (no mobile devices for now).

This format was built off the earlier Hexflower format, which was co-designed with the incredible Raph D’Amico. His advice was indispensable extending Hexflower to this Hexmap format. Thanks Raph!

Hexmap is still in early beta so reach out if you have any questions, find any bugs, or have any suggestions!

Dungeon23 Template

With many designers excited to participate in Dungeon23, where you create a new bit of content each day for the entire year, there is also a 365 tile hex, with shaded regions for each month. Check out the Dungeon23 Hexmap template.

a screenshot of the 365 hexmap template for Dungeon23

December 31, 2022 05:00 PM

December 30, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Char siu pork, 叉燒肉

This is a simple rendition of char siu pork that you can make on any casual night. Don’t let a complicated intricate recipe deter you from making this regularly for dinner. A marinade and some baking is enough to enjoy this tasty dish with rice.


  • pork loin (or pork shoulder) - a couple of pounds

  • char siu sauce

  • brown sugar

  • soy sauce

  • pepper powder

  • cooking wine

Remove the meat from the bone.

Now, we're going to make the sauce for marination. Scoop a couple tablespoons from the Char Siu Sauce bottle into a mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar, soy sauce, pepper powder, cooking wine, and the char siu sauce all together and mix it. Classic Asian style cooking where nothing is measured. Here’s a photo for reference:

Mix and add the meat into the marination container. Let it marinate for at least 1-2 hours. 

Use aluminum foil to cover a baking sheet and place the marinated pork.
Pre-heat the oven for baking (350 F).

From the remaining sauce, rub a layer of sauce on top of the pork. Place the pork in the oven. Every 30 min, apply another layer of sauce on the pork. Take it out when it’s done! You can cut open a piece to double check. Ideally, it is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at December 30, 2022 03:35 AM

December 29, 2022

Doctor Popular

how To Easily Add Linktree-style link repositories in WordPress (like I do)

I just made a quick and easy tutorial that teaches WordPress users how to easily add a Linktree-style link list to their site without any additional plugins. This is the same technique I use for my About page on

Watch the tutorial video here:

I say quick, but I guess if I’m being honest it could have been shorter. 12 minutes long is terrible long, and I think the video does a thorough job of answering any questions the viewer might have about how to use blocks in WordPress. What starts off as a video about the Social Icons block, quickly becomes a micro tutorial on how to use the “List View”, the undo buttons, the block customizer, and much more.

I also ranted a bit near the end.

A screenshot from Youtube. It shows the chapters section in the video's timeline and this chapter is labeled as

The post <span class='p-name'>how To Easily Add Linktree-style link repositories in WordPress (like I do)</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 29, 2022 11:33 PM

December 26, 2022

Certainly Strange

Ryder Plush

I made my nephew a Ryder plush

by Steen at December 26, 2022 09:35 AM

Claire Kao

kwee’s week in photos: Xmas edition

A case of the cozies 

A case of the cuddles 
A case of the sleepies 

A case of the tasties 
The delicate, inscrutable language of the Amtrak paper slips
Because one Peter is not enough 
Issa double rainbow 🌈🌈

Christmas savories 
The end of the day is near when small men make long shadows.

Christmas sweets 

Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night —— disco Santa 

And also, while we’re at it, 👋👋 2022 

by Claire ( at December 26, 2022 06:41 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Bûche De Noël

December 26, 2022 06:08 AM

December 24, 2022

Vivek Sri

Dorothy Ashby

This post is mostly a reminder to the world that this album exists and is very much worth listening to.

by Dorothy Ashby at December 24, 2022 08:00 AM

December 22, 2022

Doctor Popular

#SidewalkFriends: Mari Lwydmas

Here’s a festive new #SidewalkFriends drawing.

It started with a dried patch of something (paint?) that I spotted on a cold winter morning. I took a photo and used it as inspiration for a Mari Lwyd.

sketch of #MariLwyd." width="500" height="281" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>

The Mari Lwyd is a wassail-singing folk character from South Wales traditions. It goes door to door challenging occupants to a battle of wits. If victorious, the Mari Lwyd wins food and ale, then grants the household good luck for the following year.

Follow me Mastodon

The post <span class='p-name'>#SidewalkFriends: Mari Lwydmas</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 22, 2022 11:58 PM

#SidewalkFriends: The Cyclist

I like to keep my eye out for cool shapes during my walks and use them as inspiration for my #SidewalkFriends drawings. It’s like my version of hunting for Pokémon.

This dried paint on a nearby sidewalk in San Francisco, was the perfect shape for for a fast moving cyclist.

A photo of some dried white paint on the sidewalk. It’s a big area covered by paint with some other stains visible on the sidewalk too. A drawing of a cyclist overlayed on top of a photo of the sidewalk. The shape of the cyclist is very similar to some spilled paint in the original photo.
the post on Mastodon

The post <span class='p-name'>#SidewalkFriends: The Cyclist</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 22, 2022 11:54 PM

Matt Spitz

Cultivating effective product engineering

Product engineering – developing software that meets a customer need – is a skill that is developed rather than taught. When deployed effectively, strong product engineers have extraordinary leverage, crossing crossfunctional boundaries and getting (a lot of) stuff done.

As an engineering leader, developing and unleashing product engineering is a force multiplier. Vanta has grown quickly, and I’ve been thinking about how best to scale product engineering with that growth. Ultimately, cultivating effective product engineering comes down to motivation, empowerment, and execution. In short, show great engineers the problems, give them the tools to approach those problems, and get out of the way.


One cannot design and build good software without knowing the underlying need they’re solving. I’ll assume that engineers at one’s company ultimately care about the customers’ and, by proxy, the company’s success – if that’s not true, one has much bigger problems to solve.

Motivation is derived from customer empathy. Personally feeling the customers pain and the potential that software can bring is deeply motivating, and developing customer empathy is a matter of ritual and access to customer feedback. How a leader structures meetings, what they talk about, and where they spend their time indicates what’s most important to them. Putting customer focus at the top of every team meeting, ensuring that all works are framed in terms of customer impact, and actively engaging with product work all signal that customer needs are important to a leader, and the team follows suit.

One also needs to limit friction to getting access to customers. Depending on the product, employees may be customers – ask them for feedback! At early-stage companies, might know all customers by first name – ask them for feedback! As a company grows and develops support teams that talk to dozens of customers a day, these teams becomes a proxy (but not a substitute) for talking to customers – ask them for feedback!

Seeing the product through a customer’s eyes develops a burning sense of urgency for a product engineer to fix all the problems and realize all the opportunities.


Once an engineer feels a customer’s pain, they must feel empowered to act on it. Otherwise, the urgency dies on the vine.

In a typical EPD (Engineering, Product, Design) crossfunctional team, Product is typically responsible for deciding what to build that best meets the business need, Design is typically responsible for the design and user experience of that feature, and Engineering is responsible for delivering a product in a way that appropriately balances speed and quality. Many companies, whether or not they realize it, treat this relationship linearly – a product manager designs a product requirements doc and hands it to a designer, the designer develops a design spec and hands it to an engineer, and the engineer picks it up for the first time and builds it while the PM and designer watch.

The best EPD triads (or three-legged stools) are better than the sum of their parts and collaborate at each step of the way. The PM kicks ideas around with Engineering and Design as part of defining product requirements, Design and Engineering build prototypes, get feedback, and iterate on the requirements and specs. Even if Product is the final decision maker and ultimately accountable for the product requirements, leveraging everyone’s ideas and engagement ultimately leads to a better product.

Not every product change needs to go through this process, though. Connecting engineers directly with customers’ needs should leave them chomping at the bit to fix them. In some cases, especially for straightforward fixes and improvements, an engineer can drive changes on their own, perhaps asking for feedback or review from Product/Design before they ship it. Shipping each little fix or improvement offers a hit of dopamine, and tightening the iteration loop keeps product engineers wanting more.


Now that engineers are motivated and empowered, the final piece of effective product engineering is proper execution against more ambiguous and/or complex customer needs. Optimizing for learning – sequencing discovery and delivery in phased milestones with crisp hypotheses and purpose for each – enables a team to spend its time efficiently in solving the customer need. Framing the project as a series of questions (“will anyone pay for this?”, “is this extra configurability necessary?”, “do customers want this feature?”) and associated deliverables to test those enables a team to scope the solution to an appropriate MVP iteratively and quickly. Each project milestone should be framed as an opportunity to reevaluate the viability of the project and kill it if necessary.

Engineering time is often the scarcest resource, and many leaders hesitate to cancel or downscope projects they’ve invested in. Instead, optimize for learning, embrace failure, and celebrate putting down projects that aren’t going to deliver meaningful customer value. Engineers can tell when they’re working on something useless, and a properly motivated product engineer will want to spend their time on something meaningful, anyway.

December 22, 2022 05:00 AM

December 19, 2022

Doctor Popular

The 2022 Night Parade in San Francisco

There have been a lot of fun events in our neighborhood recently. We missed a few of them, such as Unsilent Night, but made a point of attending last night’s Night Parade. This parade began at Precita Park and proceeded through the Mission neighborhood to Dolores.

There were floats with Gamelan musical instruments attached, karaoke tricycles, gigantic puppets, and two marching bands. An enormous thank you goes out to the artists and puppeteers of Raining Chainsaws for putting on such a fantastic show.

A photo of a Doc Pop in a red plaid shirt and red gnome hat, throwing a light up yo-yo. The yo-yo's lights leave a cool trail in the photo. Doc is walking in a big group of brightly dressed people down Mission St in a parade.Me at the Night Market A poster for the Night Parade that. The background is a night time view, with a moon and some city lights. The text in the foreground says:
The Night Parade.
Lanterns! Costumes! Art! Music! We'll have ours, bring yours too. 
Sunday December 18th
5pm, Precita Park.
At 6pm we'll march Toward Mission Playground, then to Dolores Park.
Call (415) WORD-BUG for updates
Kids of all ages encouraged to attend!Night Parade flier The gamelan float

The post <span class='p-name'>The 2022 Night Parade in San Francisco</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 19, 2022 05:57 PM

Certainly Strange

Light Parade

Went to Noona’s light parade tonight, it was great fun. Lit a giant sparkler.

by Steen at December 19, 2022 08:19 AM

Claire Kao

Went to Dave & Buster’s

For the first time, and had lots! of! fun! 👾🏀🎮🎳🕹

Also: my brothers used to love DDR and I got to try it for myself finally. Am wondering if I should get really into ~*the revolution*~ at this stage of my life

by Claire ( at December 19, 2022 06:55 AM

December 18, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

December 16, 2022

I Like Turtles



December 16, 2022 08:00 AM

December 12, 2022

Certainly Strange

Claire Kao

kwee’s weeks in photos

Reid, such a constant heart ♥️ 

The Washington Post is ending its magazine. From a recent round-up, a heartbreaking, poignant piece on animal abuse from Gene Weingarten. It made me want to be a better human, and especially more gentle to my little beastie. 
A lil puffer fish @ Singlish

I met a very nice man recently who works for the ever-great Cardi B, and I fell out of my chair telling him how much I adore and admire her. He sent me a box of her merch 😭😭😭😭
Our friend Vish spontaneously suggested we all go see Stomp recently. We’re all the better for it because it’s apparently ending its historic run 😭

Current obsession: hot pot, messy and as often as possible 
Birdland with Kitti (who was recently spotted by @newyorknico, #9 in the photodump)
My primary use for TikTok are the random generator filters 
Cheating on ziggy with miss nellie 

It looks like they’re still setting their e-comm up, but I loved these nail stickers, found by my new friend Hangda at the Union Square Holiday Market
At least we know my mid-length rain jacket works 

Ziggy and his bestie, Chestie 

I really love the Momofuku dried noodle variety pack. Easy, delish, and I get to mix and match the noods with whatever veggie+protein combo I like. My easiest, go-to weekday lunch or dinner 🍲 
Tree + my favorite ornaments (left to right, top to bottom): 
1. pup ornament drawn by my dear friend Ben (2016)
2. my newest ornament, made by little Zacky using some crayon shavings and a hair dryer (2022) 
3. ornament from Blarney 💋 (2022) 
4. ornament from Vienna of one of their Lipizzaners (2018)
5. ornament from our extended stay in Connecticut (2021)
6. ornament (really a keychain) from Tunisia, a country I got to visit just before the pandemic (2020)
Goooood night 🛁

by Claire ( at December 12, 2022 04:34 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

December 10, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Fuzhou Fish Balls, 鱼丸

There are few dishes that remind me of home cooking, as much as a good home-made Fuzhou fish ball. You can use different types of fish, but the common distinctive element is a hidden pork filling inside. In my opinion, biting into a fish ball that bursts with juices is what makes Fuzhou fish balls the best kind of fishball! You will also notice that this recipe will taste noticeably different from store-bought or restaurant fishballs. By using all fresh fish without cheap fillers, these fish balls will have a richer and deeper taste.


  • 3 lb ground king fish mackerel (马鮫)

    • You can also use other white meat fish such as flounder

  • salt

  • 1/2 lb cornstarch

    • In the old country, we used sweet potato starch

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 tsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 lb ground pork

  • white pepper

  • white vinegar

Cooking Tools

  • Kitchen Aid mixer

  • meat grinder

    • you can also buy a meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid


This recipe can be a relatively lengthy process, so we recommend making a big batch and freezing the fish balls until you plan to eat them. We usually buy 3-6 lb of king mackerel and make multiple batches.

Start by scaling the fish, removing the guts, separating the meat from skin, and removing all bones. We usually do this ourselves, but you can ask the grocery store to help you with that.

Be extra careful to remove all bones. Noone likes to bite into a fishball and get stabbed with a bone.

You don’t need to be careful about preserving the shape of the fish fillet, because we’ll just throw it into a meat grinder to make ground fish. In this picture we use the Kitchen-Aid meat grinder accessory.

Measure out 3 lb the ground fish to start with and put it in a mixing bowl.

Add 3 tsp of salt (1 tsp for each pound of fish)

Now add 2.4 lb of fresh water (0.8 lb water per 1 lb of ground fish).
Initially mix the water into the ground fish by hand.

Now place the fish mixture into a Kitchen Aid mixer and let it mix for 30 minutes at medium speed.

After 30 minutes of mixing, add an egg white.

Put the bowl back into the Kitchen Aid mixer and mix for another 30 minutes.

While it’s mixing, begin preparing the meat filling.
Add 1 tsp of soy sauce to the ground pork. 

Add 1 tsp of sugar to the ground pork and mix well.

Form little meatballs in preparation (approximately 1 inch in diameter).

While this recipe calls for 1 hour of mixing, if you have the time, we recommend mixing the fish mixture for as long as time allows. We want the batter to be as smooth and fluffy as possible.
The mixture is ready when the color is off-white, instead of pink.

How can we be sure that the mixing is complete? Try placing a small ball of the fish mixture into a bowl of water. The fish ball should be so buoyant that it rises halfway above the water. Notice in the following picture that 80% of the fishball is below the water line, which means that the fish paste requires more mixing.

When the fish mixture is done mixing, add in 1/2 lb corn starch and mix briefly for another 30 seconds. If you like the texture of a firmer fish ball, you can add more corn starch.

Now the hard part: rolling the balls. Place a small amount of the fish mixture into your hand and flatten. Place one pork ball in the middle of the mixture. Then slowly close your hand and allow the fish ball to roll out between your thumb and index finger.

For a video of the process, see here

Place the completed fish ball into a pot of cold water. Continue creating fish balls until the pot is filled with one layer of floating fish balls. Do not layer fishballs on top of each other, as they aren’t firm yet. They should sit in the pot with enough space to not touch each other while cooking. Note that the fish balls will expand in size during cooking.

Place the pot onto a stove and boil. The fish balls should begin to float, but continue boiling until the fish balls stop revolving and wiggling in place.

Periodically remove the white film from the top of the soup.

If absolutely necessary, cut open a single ball and look for white spots, which indicates uncooked fish paste.

Once completed, the water is now a delicious fish broth. Do not discard this water! Add salt to the soup to taste. When you’re ready to serve, scoop the fish balls and soup into a bowl. We usually let the person eating season with white pepper and white vinegar to the desired taste.

And finally…. a megaball!
Don’t try this at home (because it doesn’t actually taste that good).

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at December 10, 2022 05:36 PM

I Like Turtles

Tuba Christmas


December 10, 2022 08:00 AM

December 06, 2022

Doctor Popular


I’ve been running this WordPress blog for about 15 years and have gone through 4 major versions of site so far. I’ve documented those previous versions of the site and will share them in another post, but for now I wanted to brag about my hot new theme.

My first Block Theme

Block themes were first introduced to WordPress in WP 5.9. Since my day job for involves covering the newest trends in WordPress, I thought I’d learn how to use the new Site Editor and block themes.

A screenshot of the front page of as seen on a desktop.A screenshot of

What better theme to learn than Twenty Twenty Three, WordPress’s big new theme. One of the cool things about the new block based themes is the ability for theme designers to add “Style Variations” to choose from. These are like mini-themes within a theme. I decided to go with the “Whisper” variation, which was designed by my co-worker, Brian Gardner.

A screenshot of the WordPress dashboard. It is showing the options for editing the Twenty Twenty Three theme and shows the various Style Variations.Style Variations within the Twenty Twenty Three theme

Although I started with Whisper, I’ve made several customizations to make the site standout. My goal was to have a minimal and quick loading site, with a big focus on the About page. Since social media is becoming more and more decentralized, I’m using my About page as an easy way to find my different hubs across the web. Sort of like my own Linktree page.

An interview with the theme developer

I mentioned earlier that I cover WordPress news professionally and one of my co-workers designed the Style Variation that I’m using, so I decided to ask Brian Gardner to join me on this week’s Torque Social Hour so I could ask him questions and get his advice. After years of using the old WordPress Customizer, I’m still not sure how to use the Site Editor, so this will be a fun way to learn how these tools work. You can watch my livestream with Brian Gardner this Wednesday, December 7th, at 3pm PST here.

Share your feedback

I’m happy with the re-design, but I know it could be better. So if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I’ll ask them, or any other Site Editor related questions, during this week’s livestream.

Here are some of the questions I have already:

  • Can I change/remove the white border along the edges of the theme?
  • Paragraphs seem to cramp together. How can I alter paragraph breaks?
  • How can I improve the About page?
  • Can I make the Social Icons block split into two columns? (as seen on the About page)
  • Can my site be improved on mobile?
    • When viewing on mobile, can I remove sections from the header and footer like the blog title and RSS symbol?
    • When viewed on mobile, the hamburger icon only has one item listed. Can I improve that somehow so it just show “About” in the header without the hamburger menu?
  • How can my Posts layout be improved?
    • On mobile, the Post titles seem really large. Can I make them more responsive?
    • Also on mobile, some images go wider than the rest of the post does. So images appear to run off the page. (this mostly just seems to be an issue with flickr embeds)
  • Should I change my fonts?
  • The text under images looks like the same as the text in paragraphs. Can I make it look different (ie italic and smaller by default)
  • What happened to functions.php

The post <span class='p-name'>Redesigning</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 06, 2022 11:48 PM

Vivek Sri

The Dizzy Hen

There is a lot to love, unpack, and ponder in this menu from The Dizzy Hen, a breakfast-oriented restaurant in Philomath, Oregon. It is rendered in lowercase and a devil-may-care attitude about punctuation and spelling.

The menu is replete with glyphs that suggest some illuminati connection:

And yet, they seem to care about you, dear human:

What telling categories. Like damnable life, the bulk of your options are “other things”:

I have lived many seasons and eaten many brunches, but never have I ever seen this construction, namely, “French toast” as preposition phrase:

Which is what I ordered by the way. It was dank.

And I’m pretty sure this is an e.e. cummings poem:

They close with a simple entreaty.

Stay safe. Stay normal.

A more highfalutin menu
A meandering take on brunch

by The Dizzy Hen at December 06, 2022 08:00 AM

December 05, 2022

Certainly Strange

A Villain

Still trying to work in this style, we’ll see

by Steen at December 05, 2022 08:08 AM

Vivek Sri

Under the crescent moon

Dear me,

I’m writing this note to save your life. If my motives seem selfish, that’s because I’m you, and “you-gotta-listen-to-me” letters from your future self are by definition, a little self-serving. But you really gotta listen to me. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

The time, place, and manner of this note is on purpose. I considered catching you in first grade, right before you wet your pants at student assembly. But instead, I see you under the gaze of the cresent moon. I see it too.

See those mountains through your office window? You made that happen. The suede, not-leather, sofa upstairs? You let that salesman talk you into it. Your job, your friends, and your family. You have everything you ever wanted. And you don’t appreciate it at all.

Instead you are obsessed with fame. You have been since you were six. Maybe it started when dad brought home the Camcorder; or maybe the bug was inevitable. You always wanted and needed to be famous.

If I timed it right, today is the day that you actually do something about it. You finish that one-act you abandoned last year, and start sending out tapes. You get an audition. And another one. I remember this time well. I remember feeling the boundless energy and exhaustion that comes from creating one’s self.

And I hate spoilers as much as the next guy, but let me spare you some anxiety. You’ll book a guest spot on a major TV show, and it goes well. You get a recurring role shortly after that. After a lot of “right time right place” you’ll end up here. In the shade of a bent palm tree, next to a pool, under the houses on the hill, scribbling a note through time.

What’s it like here? Well, you can pay your rent, no worries about that. You live in Beverly Hills. You have no choice but to live Beverly Hills, because you can’t quite afford Celebrity New York and you’re too famous to live in a normal American city. (We tried and lasted two weeks in Albuquerque.)

You’d be surprised how little freedom you have when you start making gobs of money. You take jobs you don’t like to pay for things you don’t need. You have an apartment overseas you’ve only been to twice, because you have no time. Even though you pay some clever men to manage your money (hi Ira, hi Mike), you constantly feel like you’re on the brink of bankruptcy. Forget about swimming in your money like Scrooge McDuck: you only see a tenth of what the tabloids report.

Speaking of tabloids, they are your life now. You are followed around by photographers, because you are a celebrity. So you hang out with celebrities. Which sounds cool, but it’s exactly hanging out with rich teenagers, and we already did that in high school, remember?

Becoming a celebrity makes you hate strangers. Your face can turn ordinary people into snarling monsters who feed on selfies with you, no matter how you are feeling, no matter how down you are. Strangers beg you for smiles every day. You love it at first, then you hate it, and then you accept the bizarre normalcy of fame.

Because you aren’t just a performer. You are part of people’s lives. They believe they love you. Every day you have to reassure citizens as they hyperventilate in your presence. You tell them to “breathe, it’s OK,” and you can’t help but feel guilt for having this power.

And that’s just the ones that love you. Your detractors are not shy about their feelings. I remember complaining about how much email I got. Now you get 40 times that volume in hate mail. You say you won’t read the comments, but you do. You say it doesn’t bother you, but that is just another lie you tell to keep your soul intact.

So yeah, you can pay your rent, but turns out there is no amount of money that can keep your friends around. Everything changes once you are famous.

You start replacing the people that love you with folks that sorta kinda like you. Celebrities who have access to other people you want to have access to because of their access, et cetera. Eventually, your friends learn that don’t have access to you. And they will give up.

Before you ask, yes, you get to have some crazy sex with unbelievably beautiful people. Let me know how it goes. Are all your problems solved now?

I’m not writing this to undermine my life, I’m writing to highlight yours. You have friends that love and admire you. You have a family. And from what I remember (because drugs are cheaper when you’re rich, and you do them a lot), you have a job that you don’t hate. You were a writer, remember?

Well you don’t write much anymore. Your staff writers do a better job. You think they resent you. You’re on TV, and they’re not. You’re rich, and they’re not. But you’re jealous of them. They have lives. You have… an existence. Celebrity isn’t a status, it’s a pathology. The opposite of anonymous is socially radioactive. You’re walking lump of plutonium.

And I’m just so over it.

In my research, I found two ways to neutralize this existence:

The first is to wait it out. Embrace obscurity and move someplace like Bali for 10 years. (For this, you’ll need to get into psy-trance and grow a beard.) You’ve been to Bali by the way, and you don’t want to spend a decade there. You love routines too much, like walking the dog and getting beans from the local coffeeshop. You’ll miss your your view of the mountains and your not-leather sofa. And date night with Rebecca. Remember your wife? How long do you think she sticks around after you make everything but her a priority?

Of course this method doesn’t work. Everyone who’s tried it has failed. But there is a second way, that I learned from a shaman during an ayahuasca ceremony. (Dave also happens to be my personal DJ.)

This method involves two components, the plea and the sacrifice.

This is the plea.

Look out your window to the space between the peaks that always caught our attention when writing got too hard. See that sliver of cheese? I see it too: the exact same moon. I must make this plea and offer a sacrifice before the rise of this crescent moon.

I’m writing this note to save my life. Today, you’ll make the choice that changes your future and my past forever. You will move us through fame, fortune, heartbreak, emptiness, and loneliness. I am the stop at the end of the line.

(As I write this, it’s hitting me: you’re the only person I know and the only one who knows me.)

My plea is this: Blow the audition. Destroy those tapes. You’re not chasing anything you don’t already have. You are famous—to your friends and your neighbors. You already have fans: your wife and your dog. You ski when you want and get Fridays off. You write what you like. You can move through the world with freedom.

You want more, but I promise you, if you make it here, you will want less. On my today, I am ready to settle for nothing at all. There is nylon around my ankles. There is too much Ambien in my brain. My eyes are locked on the rippled dagger floating on the surface of my pool.

It is the moment of sacrifice.



by Under the crescent moon at December 05, 2022 08:00 AM

Claire Kao

Criterion haul

It's been awhile since I took advantage of a Criterion 50% off sale, but a couple things have happened in recent months/years that made me begin buying physical media again: 
  • HBO Max/Warner Bros. removed/didn't release content; I realized we take streaming content for granted as always being available to us, but it's under threat more than we're aware. 
  • A new org. was established in 2022 to record "Missing Movies". Their manifesto: "Missing Movies empowers filmmakers, distributors, archivists, and others to locate lost materials, clear rights, and advocate for policies and laws to make the full range of our cinema history available to all." I realized my own little way to participate in this effort is to support a distributor like Criterion, and keep up my own physical collection.
  • Recent layoffs at Criterion. Another reason to support Criterion is to make sure they continue in their mission.

My criteria for my Criterions: 
  1. I’ve seen it before, preferably in theater: a TV or computer screen isn't the place to come in contact with something for the first time
  2. hard to find: currently not on streaming services or available for rent online
  3. hard to find (2): I don’t have a lot of faith it will be shown in local repertory theatres anytime soon. Some movies get shown over and over again in NYC theatres (Kurosawa, Lynch, Wenders, etc.), others not.

My haul, in alphabetical order:

1. Army of Shadows (1969)

I know liking movies is not winner-takes-all and that other good movies can exist. But this movie made me wonder how anyone can watch any other movie about war, espionage, resistance, or WWII when this perfect film exists. I'd been meaning to buy this movie for a long time, but it was always out of print before.

2. Dekalog (1988)

From the master of a certain type of serialized cinema, this series of 10 hour-length films (originally made for TV) is loosely inspired by the ten commandments. The films stand up to the loftiness of the project, and encompass so much about the human experience.

3. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Outrageously funny, outrageously still-too-relevant.

4. Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (1972)

We see so many defanged, half-hearted, nihilistic takedowns of capitalism/social inequality in movies and TV these days (White Lotus, Triangle of Sadness, etc.). Don't get me wrong, I agree: CAPITALISM BAD. But what we are seeing so much of today offers little else except a shrug. However, this series made for TV is a rare hopeful, convivial depiction of socialist utopia in one intimate example, and how it might be borne from our current economic system. 

5. The Lady Eve (1941)

They truly don't make movies like this anymore. What a funny little weird, slapstick, mischievous, special movie this is. 

6. Naked City (1948)

This movie was the template for so much that came after it. For anyone who loves New York City, it's a must. It's lingered in my imagination for around 10 years, and I saw it again this year, and it still had a kick. Another movie that I'd always been meaning to buy, but was previously out of print.

7. Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1976)

Yes, this is an extremely disturbing, troubling, upsetting movie. It also was made by a complete genius who keenly observed and understood the fault lines of power and abuse in a fascist society, and used the medium to depict what he knew about the world. A part of me wants to revisit this movie because it feels significant and pertinent to the return and rise of fascism around the world, another part of me has no idea when I'll have the stability of mind and spirit to watch it again...

8. To Sleep with Anger (1990)

This movie is such a work of magic, both literally in its magical realism and in how it slowly, unnoticeably ratchets up the tension until the boiling point finale. Watching this movie is like experiencing the fable of the boiling frog.

9. Until the End of the World (1991)

a 287-minute epic masterpiece: I can't say it is the most coherent movie, but I'm certain it is the film with the widest array of intriguing sights and sounds and ideas. I absolutely loved it, and am certain I will continue to. When I got to meet Wim Wenders extremely briefly, he mentioned I might like this movie because the protagonist shares my name (Claire, probably after Claire Denis) ❤

by Claire ( at December 05, 2022 04:57 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Just me, my horse, and the wide open cyberspaces

December 05, 2022 01:08 AM